Monday, January 09, 2006

Why Digital is Right for Me

By Christina VanGinkel

Someone recently asked me why I was such a huge fan of digital photography, stating that film photography was still leagues ahead of digital when it came to quality. Maybe in some professional world far from my where my digital prints are used, that tale might be accurate, maybe not, but I suppose it could be true. I honestly do not know that much about photography to be able to tell you if that statement were accurate. What I do know, is that for me personally, digital is the only way for me to go with my photographs.

I have always loved the idea of making images permanent, images of my family, of the places we have visited, the flowers in my garden, even the occasional spider who has spun his web in some odd place. I have loved from the minute I ever held my fist camera in my hands the possibilities that it foretold, the possibilities of capturing forever whatever it was that happened to make me say wow, or hmm, or even the proverbial cheese.

I love cameras, period. What I disliked about them was figuring out how to add into my family's budget, or even scrape out of my own meager fun fund, the dollars to both buy and develop roll after roll of film. When my third child came along and we realized early on that he was also somehow infected with the same camera loving gene as me, we did a double uh oh, on how we would ever be able to figure in two sets of rolls of film, and two sets of those rolls getting developed. We did not want to tell him to limit his picture taking either, as with any budding photographer, it takes a lot of practice to get those first few shots that make you realize just what it was that called to you in the first place about taking snapshots.

Then I heard about this wonderful toy called the digital camera. It said I never needed to buy film again, and I could choose before I ever hit the print button or dropped off my files to be printed, which ones I wanted. No more boxes of snapshots that are nothing more than blur, or solid black, or streaks of something that might have been candles on a cake, because even though we know we have no use for these, once printed, it is as if we are compelled to keep them forever.

With a digital, I can fix the perfect shot that was ruined by the glow of red eyes, or take a picture that is perfect save for the myriad of unmatched colors everyone happened to be wearing by turning it into an elegant black and white, or even a fun strip of pictures, each in a different hue. No more waiting for the film to come back from the developer, or having to hang around the store even for the quick one hour printing, as I always ended up spending more money than I should have while I waited. I can print any photo I want right in my own home, and if my daughter or son wants an extra for his or her own files, no more duplicate of the whole roll. I can easily just print more of the single photo that each of us want. I can print custom sizes too.

I can take a snapshot of my grandson as he innocently sits in the middle of a mud puddle in his Sunday best, and in less than the time it would take me to rewind the film on my old camera, I can have that photograph transferred to my computer and sent on its way to my Sister-in-law. She may be a thousand miles away, but she can see what exactly it is that I am laughing so hysterically about when she phones me in the middle of his mom trying to clean him up. I love my digital camera, and I may not fully understand how it works, or if the pictures it produces equal those by a top of the line print camera, I know that for me there is no other choice and I would never trade it for any film camera, ever!

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